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Thursday, August 19, 2004

Lantos Urges Syria to Follow Libya's Steps

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - Syria should follow Libya's example and renouncing weapons of mass destruction and links to anti-Israel militant groups in return for better U.S. ties, a prominent U.S. lawmaker said Wednesday.

'As a friend of the Syrian people I want to see the leaders of this great nation ... make the right choice as well,' said Tom Lantos of California, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives' International Relations Committee.

Libya's 'Colonel (Muammar) Gaddafi ... will reap endless benefits in political, economic and cultural ties with the United States and the civilized world as a result of his actions,' he told a news conference in Damascus after meeting Syria's Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara.

In May, Washington imposed economic sanctions on Damascus chiefly because of its concerns over support for Palestinian and Lebanese militant groups, lack of security on the Iraq-Syria border and its alleged pursuit of unconventional weapons."